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FW: (no subject)

apocalypse now? what about the populations of Iraq and the Balkans? Should
those who made the decision to use these weapons - when the evidence of
their dangers has been produced in scientific papers since the 1940's be
tried for war crimes?  And for the 'no immediate danger' brigade, if there
is even a suspicion when it comes to chemical and radiological toxicity, it
is prident to err on the side of caution. beswt, felicity a.

UN staff warned to steer clear of depleted uranium

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. staff worldwide were warned  Tuesday to
clear of the shards of weapons that may have been made with depleted
blamed by some peacekeeping soldiers in Kosovo for cases of leukemia.

The U.N. Office of Human Resources Management, in a letter to all personnel
who served or were now serving in a region where depleted uranium weapons
were used, said there was little evidence at present to suggest a link
between the material and leukemia, a potentially fatal blood cancer.

It pledged to continue monitoring the situation and quickly issue relevant
medical advice as it became available and urged staff to get a check-up from
the U.N. medical services if they felt they needed one.

The weapons were used by a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf
War and by NATO in the Balkans in the 1990s. Depleted uranium is used in the
tips of missiles, shells and bullets to increase their ability to penetrate
armor, but on impact it can break down into radioactive dust.

The United Nations earlier this month said it found evidence of
at eight of 11 sites tested in Kosovo after they were struck by NATO
ammunition with depleted uranium during 1999 bombings. More tests of soil,
water and vegetation samples are under way, with results expected in March.

But NATO insists the bombings pose no risk of a dread "Balkans syndrome,"
saying the depleted uranium used in the armaments gives off less than
background levels of radioactivity.

The World Health Organization expects to issue its own conclusions in late
February after reviewing the available scientific evidence on the health
effects of depleted uranium.

Russia, which has seized on the controversy to berate NATO for alleged dirty
tactics, charged  Wednesday that the environmental impact of NATO's 1999
bombing of Yugoslavia equaled that of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear
plant, site of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986.

17:10 01-17-01

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